is allowed for men to say Subhanallah and for women to clap if there is some
need to do so (such as alerting the imam to a mistake or informing someone that
he or she may enter the room or to warn a blind person, and so on). Sahl ibn
Sa’d as-Sa’di relates that the Prophet said: “If someone is faced with
something during the Salah, he should say ‘Subhanallah.’ Clapping is for the
women and saying Subhanallah is for the men.” This is related by Ahmad, Abu
Dawud, and an-Nasa’i.
Correcting the imam’s mistake
If the imam forgets a verse, it is permissible for a follower to remind him of it, regardless of whether the recitation is a part of the obligatory recitation or not. Ibn ‘Umar reports that the Messenger of Allah prayed and had some confusion in his recitation. When he finished, he said to ‘Umar: “Were you present with us [during the prayer]?” He replied: “Yes.” So, the Prophet Sallallahu Alehi Wasallam asked him: “What prevented you from correcting me?” This is related by Abu Dawud and others and its narrators are trustworthy.
Praising Allah when one sneezes or recalls to mind a blessing
Rifa’ah ibn Rafi’ relates: “I prayed behind the Messenger of Allah, and I sneezed and said, ‘Praise be to Allah, a great deal of praise, beautiful and blessed, as our Lord loves and is pleased with.’ [Afterward,] the Messenger of Allah asked: ‘Who spoke during the Salah?’ No one said anything. He asked again, and no one said anything. He asked again, and I said: ‘It was I, O Messenger of Allah!’ He then said: ‘By the One in whose hand is Muhammad’s soul, thirty some odd angels raced to get that phrase to raise it [to the Lord].’” This is related by an-Nasa’i and at-Tirmizhi, and by al-Bukhari with a different wording.
Prostrating upon one’s clothing or headdress due to some excuse
Ibn ‘Abbas reports that the Messenger of Allah prayed in one garment and covered his face with a portion of it to avoid the heat or coldness of the ground. This is related by Ahmad with a Sahih Isnad (chain). It is disliked if it is done without any genuine reason.
summary of other acts which are permissible during the prayer
Ibn al-Qayyim has summarized some of the acts which are permissible during the Salah and which the Prophet Sallallahu Alehi Wasallam used to perform at times. He writes:
The Prophet would pray and ‘Aishah would be lying between him and the Qiblah. When he performed Sajdah, he would signal to her with his hand and she would pull back her leg and when he would stand she would stretch out her leg again. The Prophet was praying and the Satan came to him to disturb his Salah and the Prophet choked until his saliva came upon his hand. And the Prophet would pray upon the pulpit, making ruku’ there, but when the time came to perform Sajdah, he would descend, moving backward, and prostrate upon the ground, and then return to the pulpit. He once prayed toward a wall and an animal tried to pass between him and the wall. The Prophet prevented the animal from passing to the extent that its stomach was against the wall. Once while he was praying, two girls from the tribe of ‘Abd al-Muttalib were fighting behind him and he separated them with his arms while he was praying. Ahmad’s version says that they grabbed unto his knees and he separated them without leaving the Salah. On another occasion, when he was praying, a boy came to him and he motioned to him to move back, and he moved back. Then a girl tried to pass in front of him, he beckoned her to move back, but the girl passed, and when he finished, he said: “They are more determined.” Ahmad recorded it and it is also in the Sunan. He would also puff out air while praying. The hadith which states: “ Puffing out is speech” cannot be traced to the Messenger of Allah, but Sa’id related it in his Sunan from Ibn ‘Abbas as one of Ibn ‘Abbas’ statements - if it is authentic. The Prophet would cry during his Salah and would also clear his throat while praying. ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib said: “I had a certain time at which I would visit the Messenger of Allah. When I came to him, he would permit me to enter. If I found him praying, he would clear his throat and I would enter. If he was free, he would give me permission to enter.” This is recorded by an-Nasa’i and Ahmad. Ahmad’s version says: “I could enter upon the Prophet during the day or night. If I came to him while he was praying, he would clear his throat [as a sign that I may enter]. This was related by Ahmad who used to act by it and he was not of the opinion that clearing one’s throat invalidated the Salah. Sometimes the Prophet would pray barefoot and sometimes while wearing shoes. This is what ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar said and he ordered people to pray with shoes on in order to differ from the Jews. Sometimes he would pray in one garment and sometimes in two garments and [this latter] was the majority of the cases.
Reciting from a copy of the Qur’an
Zhakwan, the protege of ‘Aishah, would lead her in prayer during Ramadan while reciting from a copy of the Qur’an. This is related by Malik. Ash-Shaf’i’s opinion is that it is allowable. An-Nawawi holds: “If one sometimes turns pages during a Salah, it does not invalidate it. If he looks at something that is written which is not the Qur’an and he reads it to himself, it does not invalidate the Salah, even if it is done for a long period of time, nevertheless, it is a hated act.” Ash-Shaf’i has made a statement about it in al-Imla’.
Occupying the heart with something other than the affairs of the prayer
Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet (SAW) said: “When the call to prayer is made, the Satan takes to his heels... and when it is finished, he returns. He flees again when the Iqamah is made and when it is finished, he returns until he comes between the man and his thoughts, saying: ‘Remember this and remember that,’ which he had not recalled, until the person does not know how much he has prayed, [i.e.,] three or four rak’at. Then, he makes two prostrations while sitting.” This is reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
Al-Bukhari also records that ‘Umar said: “I arrange the troops [in my mind] during the Salah.” Although it is true that such a Salah is valid and sufficient, it is a must for the person in prayer to keep his mind and heart attuned to the Salah and his Lord and to keep his thoughts on the meaning of the Qur’anic verses and the significance of the different acts of the Salah since a person has for him only that portion of the Salah which he is fully aware of [while performing it].
Dawud, an-Nasa’i, and Ibn Hibban record from ‘Ammar ibn Yasir that he heard the
Messenger of Allah say: “A man may complete the Salah and only have recorded
for himself one-tenth or one-ninth or one-eighth or one-seventh or one-fifth or
one-fourth or one third or one-half.”
Al-Bazzar records from Ibn ‘Abbas that the Messenger of Allah said: “Allah, the Glorious, said: ‘I accept the Salah of one who humbles himself during it to My Greatness; and who does not perform the Salah just for show; and who does not spend the night in disobedience to Me; and who spends the day remembering Me; and who is merciful to the poor, the wayfarer and the widows; and who is merciful to one who is suffering from an infliction. He has a light like the light of the sun. I protect him by My Glory and the angels guard over him. I give him light in darkness and sobriety in the presence of ignorance. And his similitude in My creation is like al-Firdaus in Paradise.”’
Dawud records from Zaid ibn Khalid that the Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever
makes ablution and perfects it and then prays two rak’at, without being
unheedful during them, forgiven for him will be his previous sins.” Muslim
records that ‘Uthman ibn Abi al-’Aas said: “O Messenger of Allah, the Satan
comes between me and my prayers and my recitation, confusing me therein!” The
Prophet said: “That Satan is called Khanzab. If he affects you seek refuge in
Allah from him and ‘spit out’ on your left side three times.”
Muslim records from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah said: “Allah, the Glorious, said: ‘I have divided the Salah [i.e., al-Fatihah] into two halves, between Me and My slave, and my slave shall receive what he asks for.’ When the slave says ‘All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds,’ Allah, the Exalted, says ‘My slave has praised Me.’ When he says ‘The Compassionate, the Merciful,’ Allah, the Exalted, says ‘My slave has lauded Me.’ When he says ‘Master of the Day of Judgment.’ Allah, the Exalted says ‘My servant has glorified Me and entrusted his affairs to Me.’ And when he says ‘It is Thee we worship and from Thee that we seek aid,’ Allah, the Exalted, says ‘This is between Me and My slave. And for My slave is what he asks.’ And when he says ‘Guide us to the straight path, the path of those whom you have blessed and not of those with whom you are angry nor of those who have gone astray.’ Allah says ‘That is for My slave and My slave shall get what he asks for.’”
To be continued